Hollywood has long been dying, but beware when movie legends tell you so

By Russell Davies, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 20 June 2013 08:00AM

I bet you get bored with all the apocalyptic media talk - this is dying, that is falling off a cliff, the other is exploding in catastrophic technicolour. It even irritates me, and I've squeezed five years of columns out of it.

Hollywood has long been dying, but beware when movie legends tell you so

But, every now and then, someone who really knows their stuff says these things – and, if you’re very lucky, they do it with the sort of clarity that makes you examine the future of a whole industry. That’s worth paying attention to. So, if you’re interested in the movies, I would urge you to look at a site called The Verge for reports of a recent talk given by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg points out the seemingly inevitable conservatism of the movie industry in the face of expanding content choices: "You’re at the point right now where a studio would rather invest $250 million in one film for a real shot at the brass ring than make a whole bunch of really interesting, deeply personal – and even maybe historical – projects that may get lost in the shuffle."

At some point soon, a slew of mega productions will flop all at once and Hollywood will be forced into change

He suggests that, at some point soon, a slew of these mega-productions will flop all at once and Hollywood will be forced into dramatic change. That change will include: movie-going becoming a rarer, more special and more expensive occasion; movies being released in all formats, everywhere, at the same time; and most "movies’"coming to us via online services. This, the pair suggest, will mean a bright future for movie-makers with a particular vision – they will be able to make a living out of globally aggregated niche audiences.

And they end the whole thing with just the right media-prognosticator tone – apocalyptic vision mixed with starry-eyed optimism. Lucas puts it like this: "It’s a mess. It’s total chaos. But out of that chaos will come some really amazing things. And, right now, there are amazing opportunities for young people coming into the industry to say: ‘Hey, I think I’m going to do this and there’s nobody to stop me.’ It’s because all the gatekeepers have been killed!"

Russell Davies is a creative director at Government Digital Service

@undermanager

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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